It was the 38th minute of yesterday’s blowout with LA already trailing 2-0, when head coach Curt Onalfo prematurely subbed out Emmanuel Boateng in favor of Baggio Husidic.
It was a tactically defeatist move. Sure, exchanging a speedy winger in Boateng for more defensive personnel helped stop a Sounders attack that was running over the Galaxy midfield. But the substitution lacked inspiration and imagination. You might as well have invoked the great Chick Hearn, because the game was in the refrigerator.
To make matters worse, the normally affable Boateng refused to shake Onalfo’s hand on his way off the field, an ugly scene in a otherwise nightmarish match. In one moment, those watching on TV got a taste of the tactical ineptitude and player frustration that has defined 2017.
When results weren’t going LA’s way to start the season, we stressed the need for Galaxy fans not to panic. Losing Sebastian Lletget was always going to be huge, and there were too many new faces and confounding variables to prevent LA from hitting the ground running.
But as I explained to Sounder at Heart beforehand, patience in Curt must be coupled with some kind of progress, and unfortunately there haven’t been any positives. The Galaxy are 2-5-0, good for second from last in the Western Conference, with both of their victories coming against 10 men sides. LA have no idea what to do with the ball in the final third. The central midfield is a sieve, and the defense has been under siege all year.
Few, if any of the players are performing at a high level. Giovani dos Santos in particular has been a shadow of his former self. Were it not for the heroics of Romain Alessandrini, the Galaxy would have all of four goals this year.
Now...it’s not like LA haven’t gotten off to slow starts or endured bad runs of form in the past. But the Bruce Arena teams of old were always organized. Prepared. Disciplined. Motivated.
We saw none of these attributes on display during the Galaxy’s painfully meek effort on Sunday, a blowout that ultimately exposed LA’s poor positional discipline and lack of a game plan.
And that Seattle loss was bad. Really bad. Like, not even close.
*Checks Nico Lodeiro's pass map and raises lighter* pic.twitter.com/viEPoCeQiP— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) April 23, 2017
This is what domination looks like. pic.twitter.com/PSeYzzcz6a— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) April 23, 2017
For what its worth, Ashley Cole walked around the bench after he was substituted late to avoid an embrace with Onalfo.
Something needs to change, and fast.